Daily Egyptian

SIU football dominates Murray State in Black Out Cancer game (PHOTOS)

SIU+football+players+take+to+the+field+prior+to+the+start+of+SIU%27s+matchup+against+Murray+State+on+Saturday%2C+Sept.+17%2C+2016%2C+at+Saluki+Stadium.+%28Athena+Chrysanthou+%7C+%40Chrysant1Athena%29
SIU football players take to the field prior to the start of SIU's matchup against Murray State on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016, at Saluki Stadium. (Athena Chrysanthou | @Chrysant1Athena)

SIU football players take to the field prior to the start of SIU's matchup against Murray State on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016, at Saluki Stadium. (Athena Chrysanthou | @Chrysant1Athena)

SIU football players take to the field prior to the start of SIU's matchup against Murray State on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016, at Saluki Stadium. (Athena Chrysanthou | @Chrysant1Athena)

By Sean Carley

Saluki football has a winning record for the first time since the 2014 season, and accomplished it in grand fashion.

SIU defeated local rival Murray State on Saturday during the schools’ first matchup in 13 years, 50-17.

The Dawgs dominated the game in almost every fashion. SIU outgained Murray 558-319 on offense and forced three Racer turnovers.

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“We got to 2-1, we got our two wins at home,” SIU coach Nick Hill said. “We want to build that home field advantage.”

SIU played in front of 11,150 fans — the eighth-largest crowd in Saluki Stadium history — during the university’s family weekend.

The game was also the team’s fifth annual Black Out Cancer game, which raised more than $35,000 for Southern Illinois Healthcare Foundation.

Murray State went into the game without its leader on offense: senior quarterback K.D. Humphries, who led the team with 505 yards of total offense.

Freshman kicker Matt Sotiropoulos attempts a field goal near the end of the Salukis’ 50-17 win against the Racers on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016, at Saluki Stadium. (Jacob Wiegand | @jawiegandphoto)

The Salukis had a lead before Humphries would’ve even had a chance to touch the ball as true freshman D.J. Davis returned the opening kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown.

Later that quarter, Davis would score his second touchdown of the game on a four-yard pass from senior quarterback Josh Straughan.

Davis said his game held a special purpose for him after his aunt, Lisa, was shot and killed within the last week. He played the game with “R.I.P. Lisa” written across his eye black.

Straughan had another solid game for SIU, completing 27 of his 34 passes for 289 yards and four touchdowns.

SIU built its lead early on, holding a 24-10 lead at the end of the first quarter. The 14-point margin would be the closest the Racers would get for the rest of the game.

Two Salukis, redshirt freshman tight end Jacob Varble and sophomore quarterback Matt DeSomer, also picked up their first career touchdowns in the game.

Sophomore running back Daquan Isom had his third career 100-yard rushing game, finishing with 104 yards on the ground. He added 47 yards receiving as well.

Overall, the Salukis had a balanced offense, rushing the ball for 269 yards and throwing for 289.

“Any coach would stand up here and say they want to have a balanced offense,” Hill said. “Obviously we’ve committed to running the football … we have to win and win consistently.”

The Saluki defense also held up its end of the bargain, limiting Murray State to 319 yards with the three turnovers.

Junior defensive end Khari Waithe-Alexander was a nuisance to the Racers all night, picking off Murray State’s second pass and sacking the quarterback twice.

“You don’t get a lot of [games like that],” he said. “When you get a chance to have a game where you can be free and roam around and make a play on every down, it feels good.”

SIU will now get a week to rest and recover with its upcoming bye week and will be back in action at 4 p.m. Oct. 1 to take on Northern Iowa in the UNIDome in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

Sports editor Sean Carley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @SCarleyDE.

To stay up to date with all your SIU football news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.

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